World Series History, Facts & Trivia

World Series History, Facts, Trivia
Photo Credit: Chicago Tribune

This article is primarily focused on useful and informative World Series facts/trivia, and also Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series history.

If you need information on the comprehensive list of champions, and most championships won by a team, head on to our article on the World Series Winners/Losers, Wins By Team, and Games.

In various professional sports, there exist a top chain of championship trophy that ensues a competitive race between teams. The game of baseball is no exception with its coveted MLB World Series serving as the sport’s pinnacle trophy. The world of baseball annually looks on in exciting anticipation of the World Series. It is as crucial as various marked religious and national holidays in the calendar year.

World Series History

The World Series is a championship series of Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada that holds every year. As far back in 1903, the prestigious baseball event has held between the champion team of the American League (AL) and the Champion team of the National League (NL). Whichever team comes top from a seven playoff game becomes the World Series champion and takes home the Commissioner’s Trophy. The tournament is often referred to also as the Fall Classic as it is played during the fall season.

World Series History: First Championship in 1903
The first World Series in 1903. On the front row is Boston Americans with Pittsburgh Pirates on the back row. (Public Domain)

In baseball history, the first official World Series is recognized to have been played in 1903. However, before 1903, baseball World Series games were played. MLB considers 19th-century baseball to be the preceding developmental period to modern baseball and therefore do not officially recognized baseball competitions of the 19th century.

1930 saw a change of the MLB views to 19th-century baseball as various official sources on the subject of World Series history started the list from 1903, however, discuss the world series games before 1903 separately. 

Providence Grays of the National League had played against the New Metropolitan Club of the American Association in the first baseball World Series in 1884. However, it was called “The Championship of the United States” It was a three-game series. The Grays emerged victorious in the game.

The following years’ variation of the “The Championship of the United States” game took place between the pennant champion of the National League and the American Association in a six to fifteen games series until 1891 when the American Association collapsed, resulting in a suspension of the series.

1892 saw the adoption of the split season practice in which the National League played a split season, and the first-half winner played the second-half winner for the league championship. However, this new methodology of play didn’t sit well with the majority of baseball fans, and so, therefore, the split season practice came to a stop in 1893.

In 1894, a championship trophy between the first positioned team and second-placed team in the National League with the financial benefits of the winning side pocketing 65% of ticket sales and the losing side raking in the remaining 35% was proposed by Pittsburgh’s owner William C. Temple and adopted. This new system of play replace the disrupted “The Championship of the United States” and became the seed for the famous baseball’s post-season games.

In 1901, the American League sprang back to life. Fierce competition and rivalry thus ensued with the National League following the AL establishments, a baseball “civil war.” After two years of bitter competition for fans loyalty and attention, both leagues reached a compromise termed the “National Agreement” and merger. It produced the business foundation for the modern-day baseball game.

And once again, the World Series was back in play. Boston Americans (Now known as the Red Sox) of the American League were up against Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League in the first official “World Series” in 1903. The game was held on Huntington Avenue Grounds, with a little over 100,000 in attendance. Boston Americans won the first official World Series, five-game to three.

Ever since the World Series in the sport became an annual tournament between the pennant winner of the AL and NL, however, it was boycotted the following year. From 1905 it continued to date aside from the 1994 season strike year. The World Series has been played 115 times. American League won 66 of those 115 and the National League 49.

World Series Facts & Trivia

Below are important and informative World Series facts & trivia. Explore!

1. The series had a rocky start

The first official World Series had taken place in 1903, with Boston Americans coming out victorious. The world of baseball had anticipated the continuation of the tradition the following year.

However, it skipped the next year and continued in 1905 for a hilarious reason. The New York Giants (now called the San Francisco Giants) turned down playing Boston Americans who they were meant to face in the World Series. Their reason being that the American League wasn’t a credible league deserving a competitive play against them and declared themselves world champions. How crazy!

The National League and American League was just recovering from a baseball civil war, and to maintain peace, the baseball world as a whole neither recognized nor disprove the New York Giants as champions but instead put the episode behind and decided to try the following year again.

2. The curse of the Billy’s Goat

When Billy Sianis was ordered to exit the Cubs’ World Series game against the Detroit Tigers in 1945, the Cubs had no idea they were stepping on the tail of a dangerous silent tiger, which would cause them the World Series for years to come. Billy had been sent off from watching the game as fellow fans were agitated of his pet goat, which was so smelly and upsetting to them.

Angry at been sent off, Billy cursed the Cubs that they would never win the World Series. As the event turned out to be, the Cubs didn’t win. They tried for years but never won. The Curse of Billy Sianis stood. In a bid to break the curse, they had Billy’s nephew bring a goat onto the field. Still, nothing changed. Not until 2016 was the curse broken after the Cubs recorded their first World Series win for the first time since 1908.

3. Too much jewelry

The giving of rings to players who won the World Series began in 1922. It was a  souvenir to players and team coaches who achieved the World Series victory, and most players valued and cherished the rings. However, Frank Crosetti, after 17 World Series wins, decided he had enough rings and asked for the unexpected in replacement of the ring, an engraved shotgun.

4. The perfect game

A perfect game in base occurs when a pitcher doesn’t give the opposing team a chance to get on base. A perfect game for one team spells doom for the other as it means the opposing team doesn’t record hits or walks in the game. It seldom happens especially not in a World Series. In 1956, Don Larsen of New York Yankees threw 97 pitches to take out 27 batters of the opposing Brooklyn Dodgers on route to winning the World Series.

5. Baseball after dark

Baseball had featured some of its scheduled games at night timing from the 1930s. However, the World Series played its first night game in 1971 after. Surprisingly, a larger audience tuned in to watch the game at night. Soon it became a popular trend, and most World Series week games, which should supposedly hold in the day, were held at night.

6. Championships from different sports

For any baseball player, playing in the World Series is the peak of achievement. So also is playing in the Super Bowl for any American football player. One player, however, achieved both. Deion Sanders played in the World Series in 1992 with the Atlanta Braves against the Toronto Blue Jays. He also played two Super Bowl — the 1995 Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers and 1996 with Dallas Cowboys.

7. The World Series is a small world

It is called the World Series, but the implementation of its name isn’t literal to how the game is played since the entire world does not engage in the competition. Toronto Blue Jay’s happens to be the only team outside the US to have won the World Series. They won it twice, in 1992 and 1993.

8. The greatest comeback

In 2004, Boston Red Sox became the first team in the history of World Series to record a phenomenal come back after losing three games in the playoffs to go on winning 4-3 and qualified for the World Series matchup. They won the World Series in the fourth game against St. Louis Cardinals.

9. The 1994 World Series was not held

The players’ strike in 1994 affected not only regular baseball gameplay but also the prestigious World Series tournament. The World Series that year was canceled.

Please feel free to share your thoughts about these world series facts and trivia, in our comments section below.

RELATED: World Series Winners 1903–2019

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